If any of you have ever been in the company of a 2-year-old for longer than five minutes, then you know that they bring a whole new meaning to the word ‘no’.
My youngest has developed a fondness for screaming it emphatically in my face every time I open my mouth.
“Bella, time to clean up.” “NO!”
“You have to potty before we can leave.” “NO!”
“We need to go pick up the big kids.” “NO!”
It doesn’t matter what I say, she always says no. Ok, maybe not everything. If I ask her if she’d like a snack, that gets me a yes. But do you want to know what really bites?
She only does this to me.
If her daddy tells her to do something, she not only does it, she says “yes sir.” What?! She gets perfect reports at preschool and her Sunday school teacher calls her an angel. My babysitter never has any trouble out of her. I’m actually starting to form a complex over this.
Why is it that she is so agreeable when everyone else asks her to do something and so defiant when the request comes from me?
I was thinking about this yesterday while she was in the midst of one of her tirades and that’s when it came to me; don’t we do the same thing to God?
Your friends ask you out for coffee and you clear your schedule. A committee from your child’s school calls and they are desperate for your skills so naturally you say yes. It’s time for yet another fundraiser and you don’t hesitate to harass random people in an effort to raise the most money.
Now, what about God?
“Valerie, I want you to spend a little more time with me.” “Sorry God, I’m just too busy. Ask me again next week.”
“I want you to help build a new ministry for me.” “That’s really not within my skillset, God, ask someone else please.”
“Go and make disciples of all the nations, teach them my commands and fear not, because I’m going to go with you.” “I’m really not comfortable talking to strangers, especially about you, Jesus. What if they get mad? Better save discipleship for the pastors.”
Stings, doesn’t it?
Why are we so quick to accommodate everyone BUT God? Even when someone asks us to do something we really don’t want to do, we do it anyway because we worry what they’ll think about us if we say no. Don’t try to act like you don’t, everyone does it at least once in a while. So why aren’t we worried what God thinks when we continually say no to Him?
When Bella has repeatedly told me no and her daddy comes home and she becomes a yes girl, it hurts my feelings. It makes me think she loves him more. It makes me wonder how much I matter to her when she refuses to listen to me but is so willing to please everyone else.
Is that how it makes God feel when He sees us saying yes to everyone around us and screaming no at Him? We clear our day for our friends but won’t carve out an hour for God. We’ll spend hours working on bulletin boards, holiday parties and teacher appreciation week but run from leading a devotion at small group or putting together a women’s (or men’s) bible study. You go out and pound the pavement, selling donuts, wrapping paper, jewelry, etc., pleading your cause to get people to open their wallets. Yet you won’t utter a word to the stranger who is clearly in need of encouragement to get them to open their hearts.
Maybe it’s time we say no to everyone else a little more to free us up to give God a yes for a change.
“This is what the Lord of Heaven’s Armies says: Look at what’s happening to you! You have planted much but harvest little. You eat but are not satisfied. You drink but are still thirsty. You put on clothes but cannot keep warm. Your wages disappear as though you were putting them in pockets filled with holes!
This is what the Lord of Heaven’s Armies says: Look at what’s happening to you! Now go up into the hills, bring down timber, and rebuild my house. Then I will take pleasure in it and be honored, says the Lord. You hoped for rich harvests, but they were poor. And when you brought your harvest home, I blew it away. Why? Because my house lies in ruins, says the Lord of Heaven’s Armies, while all of you are busy building your own fine houses.”
(Haggai 1:5-9 NLT)